Tell us about yourself and your business!
Hi! My name is Ivy and I am a wife, a mother and I also own a little business called Ivy Avenue! It is an online boutique with comfortable, affordable clothing along with some handmade jewelry that I make at home. I started it in 2017 and I have had so much fun doing it! It is a LOT of hard work figuring it out and trying to be successful but it has been an amazing experience!
We are currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah while my husband is in school. Along with working on my business some of my hobbies include homemaking, cooking, working out, being outside and hanging out with my husband and baby boy!
What inspired you to start your own business?
In April 2017 I was 7 months pregnant with my first baby and I was about to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree. I was working unbelievably hard in school and I was working so things were pretty crazy! I really, really wanted to be able to spend time with my baby at home once he was born but I knew that with my husband also being in school full-time, we needed to find a way to make ends meet.
I also have always been super interested in having my own business. As a little girl I spent tons of time setting up lemonade stands and employing my little brothers in it with me. When I got older I started a little program at my house where parents could drop off their kids for a few hours and we did crafts and fun little art projects. In high school I started doing wedding photography and loved it. I have always just had a hunger for creating something new that was mine and that I could watch grow. I have always felt such an urge to own a business- especially one that was based around cute clothing!
So, after talking with my husband and doing a lot of research, I decided it was now or never, and I just went for it!
Is this your full time job?
Yes, along with working a little bit as a social media influencer and being a mom (of course) 🙂
How do you structure your days?
I am big into keeping a planner and writing everything down. Usually the night before I will go over everything I have to do the next day chronologically. I like to wake up and try to get things done before my son wakes up. Then I spend time with him making breakfast, playing, running errands, etc. During his nap I work again and then at night when my husband comes home we all spend time together and I am back at it at night after our son falls asleep!
Where and how do you work best?
I work my best in my little office, with the door shut and with music going. I definitely am more efficient when I know that my first priority (my son) is taken care of. If I know he is, I feel like I can do anything! A big diet Dr. Pepper doesn’t hurt either ;)
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Right now you can use code ‘SPRING2019’ and get 20% off anything from our site.
Where is your business based?
Salt Lake City, UT
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I took an entrepreneurship class during the last semester of college and that education really helped me know where to begin! I first had to think of the idea (obviously), the type of business I wanted (I decided on an LLC), my target demographic along with doing some market research and coming up with a name. I started by registering my business with the state of Utah and then with the federal government. I was young and honestly didn’t know much about business then so I was honestly just learning as I went!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers?
Social media- definitely. Especially Instagram.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Finding new customers and building a following.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Still trying to figure it out!! Trying to stay on top of social media/online advertising trends is important for an online business.
How do you keep motivated through tough times?
I find support from those around me. My husband, my dad, my mom and my close friends are always so good at helping me to stay motivated and feel empowered.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Because my business is still fairly small, I like to be the one to deal with any customer service e-mails. Instead of getting cliché responses from outsourced employees, I make sure that I am the one to communicate with customers. It can be difficult to keep up at times but I feel that intimacy is so important in a world where everything is automated. I want to personally make sure that every customer is satisfied whether that means talking on the phone about something, processing returns, or helping someone find the right fit.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Celebrate the success of others. High tide floats all ships.”
In the business-world, everything is extremely competitive. I have always been a proponent of capitalistic ideals and know that in order to have a successful business, you need to work hard and be competitive. However, I have learned that it can be very beneficial to cheer on and work with people who have the same goals as you. I have learned so many things from my fellow boutique-owning-girls and know that it is so important to stick together!
What do you wish you had known when you started your business?
Oh man, so many things! I could write a novel! The biggest thing would be to have been more confident in myself. Stop questioning everything. Stop comparing. Stop worrying. Just go for it!
Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
One of my biggest influences in my life has been my dad. I know he isn’t technically a “girl boss” 😉 but growing up I watched as he worked so hard to build a business out of practically nothing. When I was little he was in an accident that left him with a badly broken back. I watched as he and my mother struggled over years to get finances together and to create the life they wanted. My dad started all kinds of small businesses and worked endlessly to get them up off the ground. He has taught me so much about business and enduring when things get rough (as they always do).
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Starting and running a successful business takes someone with the confidence to not care what naysayers think. Odds are you will have at least a few people who will think you’re crazy and try to bring you down. You don’t have enough time to deal with that if you’re going to be successful! :)
What business tools/resources could you not work without?
Since my business is done mainly online, a lot of my favorite resources have to do with technology. I LOVED using WordPress to create and design my webiste. I do
a lot of social media and I love using Canva and Adobe Spark to create beautfiul, eye-catching posts. Id recommend those apps to anyone!
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
Wow, so many! I feel like when starting a business (or doing anything 'big’ in life) you really learn who your friends are. Like I said above, there WILL be people who think you're crazy/not qualified enough to run a business and that was kind of a disappointing lesson for me to learn, but an important one. I was able to see how many of my friends and family members truly supported me (not just through purchasing anything, but just by being a positive influence in my life) and I am so grateful for them! I learned that I ALWAYS want to be the type of girl that will support my friends and family in their endeavors and always have their backs.
Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?
I would love to really focus more on jewelry and be able to produce and create unique, beautiful designs! I'd love for my audience and customers to grow and eventually I'd love to hire more people to help grow the brand.